in pursuit of
for most, it is a world rarely considered. Brushes and paint are kept in the aisle near
science fair necessities, shellac, Halloween costume sparkle and Crayola. Under fluorescent
lighting, the art student finds supplies for classes and studio sessions, maybe lusting after
the imported notebooks and expensive calligraphy brushes. The name “art supplies” reads
flatly utilitarian, intimating nothing of a magnificent provenance, missing completely the
intriguing tradition of fine artist tools that has existed for centuries.
Pondering this with Pierre-Yann Guidetti he agrees that surprisingly, even in French, his
native language, there is no other statelier descriptive. If anyone could conjure up a more
sophisticated term it would be Mr. Guidetti. As the co-owner of Savoir-Faire, an importer
and distributor of the most illustrious art and stationery supplies, a company he runs with
his wife, Maureen Labro in San Francisco, Guidetti is immersed in the nuances of artists'
essentials. Neither too precious nor too exclusive, his belief in the irresistible allure of
the right brush, the most exceptional pastels, the perfect paper, the passionate reduction
of craft and veneration: painting with beautiful things is an inspiration for both the first-time and serious artists. As “extensions of the hand and the imagination,” these pieces, as
adored by Guidetti, are the marvelous descendants of historic, masterful creation. What
greater pleasures are there than a silent morning alone with a set of watercolors; the
scene captured more wistfully with charcoal than with film or postcard; a day of carefree
experimentation in drippy pools of color.
This page left: Bijou metal box watercolors from Sennelier; right, Petit Gris, Siberian
Blue Squirrel brush from Isabey. Opposite page: Winsor & Newton watercolour caddy
box, c1890 through Green & Stone of Chelsea